He put his faith in a thirty-eight in his waist
But when you live by the gun, you die by the same fate
Jay-Z references the Bible in this line, in particular the Book of Matthew chapter 26, verse 52: Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
The saying was brought into modern English as “live by the sword, die by the sword,” it would later be co-opted by gunslingers into: “live by the gun, die by the gun”.
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